The two-day heat advisory which began Sunday morning has been extended until 9 p.m. Tuesday. Temperatures as high as 105 are expected Tuesday afternoon.
Lisa Church, executive director of communications and the Foundation at Bothwell Regional Health Center, said its emergency department treated five heat-related illnesses last weekend, equivalent to the number of cases treated during the entire month of June.
“That’s not uncommon when we get a heat wave like this,” she said.
Church said to watch for common symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, which can include dizziness or sickness in the stomach. She advises to check in with the elderly because their air conditioning might not be working or they haven’t even turned it on yet.
“They don’t realize they’re so hot,” Church said. “I know that’s really sad, but it’s not uncommon. If you know an elderly person, check on them.”
Dr. Gregory Doak at Bothwell said people need to start acting like it’s summer by trying to go outside only in the morning and evening, taking breaks often and in shady and cool areas, wearing lightweight clothing and drinking plenty of fluids, taking special care to avoid sugary and caffeinated drinks that speed up dehydration. Most of his patient population is elderly, so he advises special caution for them during the heat advisory.
“Those guys don’t take the extra heat very well, even though they don’t necessarily notice that they’re feeling hot. They need to be especially careful in that.”
Sedalia-Pettis County Emergency Management Agency Director Dave Clippert advises people to stay cool by going into public buildings because the agency no longer provides cooling centers.
“We’ve opened up cooling centers in the past, and no one has ever shown up,” Clippert said. “I don’t officially open up cooling centers anymore. There are buildings everywhere: libraries, convention halls, but we’ve not opened up a cooling center in probably two or three years.”
Some local organizations are providing additional services to help the community during excessively hot weather. Sedalia Senior Center Director Brenda Moore said she’s keeping her doors open until 5 p.m. when temperatures crest 90 degrees.
“We’ve got water, iced tea,” Moore said. “There’s not a whole lot going on after 2 o’clock but people are encouraged to come in… We’ve had a few folks coming in out of the heat. If we are not aware they have somewhere to go, we make sure they have bottled water with them.”
In addition to keeping the center open for a few extra hours in the afternoons, Moore said the center also provides a telephone reassurance program which includes checking on the well-being of home-bound seniors. Fortunately, everyone they have visited is doing well and staying cool.
Case Worker Donna Fulcher with the Salvation Army Social Services said the Salvation Army received 20 box fans Monday to give to families, elderly and disabled people without air conditioning. She is in her office at 1305 S. Limit Ave. in Sedalia from 1 to 5 p.m. weekdays, and her phone number is 660-826-5262.
The Sedalia Public Library isn’t extending its hours during the heat advisory, but Director Pam Hunter said she encourages people to come in and cool off.
“We have the air conditioning on, and anyone is welcome to come in,” Hunter said. “In the past, we’ve had a lot of people come in and use that. We have magazines, and anyone can come in out of the heat, even if they’re not a member.”
The library is open until 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
Leah Wankum can be reached at 660-826-1000 or @leahwankum.